Midwife led class Welwyn
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Midwife led antenatal classes Welwyn

Is a midwife taught antenatal class best? Midwife antenatal class Welwyn

This question isn’t asked very often, but the question does sometimes come up. With our Daisy Foundation antenatal classes I find that the answer is always very easy. Midwife antenatal class Welwyn

A midwife is absolutely your best friend for your medical antenatal care. They provide amazing care and support to you and your baby. Medical professionals who are highly trained. Highly skilled in ensuring a medically safe arrival of baby. Trained in taking bloods and interpreting results. With special magic powers for knowing baby’s position just by the slightest touch. They can do so much more medically then I could ever write down. Midwives are professionals who will go above and beyond to give you the very best medical care.

But not all midwives would make ideal antenatal teachers.

Presenting to an audience, guiding a group through an educational journey, taking different learning styles into consideration so that everybody can get the best out of the course. Teaching is not for everyone.

So, while your midwife may be the best thing since sliced bread as a midwife, they might not be the best antenatal teachers.

But a midwife can answer my questions on pregnancy?

You may find a “midwife led” antenatal class and think it would be a benefit. But having a teacher who is fully up to date with your rights in childbirth would benefit you much more. Anybody can learn about the birthing process. That process has been going on for millions of years and anybody can become an expert.

A midwife antenatal teacher (as with all antenatal teachers!) will be unable to answer personal medical questions relating to your pregnancy. So, having a midwife deliver your antenatal classes will not help you receive medical advice. Your first port of call in that respect is your own midwife. Somebody with access to your own medical history and records.

Confidence in your Daisy teacher

During my seven years teaching hundreds of clients, there are very few questions that I have been unable to answer. But when it does happen, I always go away and research. I know where to find the evidence and if I ever struggle, I can reach out to the community of 70+ Daisy teachers across the UK.

Somebody knowledgeable, passionate, personable and willing to do the work to make the best experience for their clients is who you want. Somebody who will be there for you throughout pregnancy and through the first year of baby’s life. Continuity. A friendly familiar face.

Your antenatal teacher is highly trained in delivering education and empowering their clients. We do not have to be careful with their employer i.e. the local hospital trust. A non-midwife will only need to consider you, the client. If something feels uncomfortable you do not have to go along with anything just because “it is how it is done” in hospital policy.

How is a Daisy teacher qualified?

As Daisy antenatal and baby teachers, we have gone through a year-long in depth 600-hour learning programme. A year to get us highly qualified to teach you about labour, birth and using your body to help this process. Empowering our clients by instilling confidence and delivering education.

My knowledge of the subject matter deeply etched in my brain. I have read books, investigated research and guidelines, and immersed myself so much in learning that I trained as a Daisy teacher twice! I personally have been teaching for almost 7 years. And I have used the techniques during birth too. I have also trained as a Postnatal Doula and a Babywearing Consultant to continue the support with families. So, you can trust what we’re saying. I am constantly upgrading my knowledge and keeping abreast of new research and information.

There are several midwives who are Daisy teachers, but you do not need to be a midwife to deliver the classes. The fact that many midwives choose to undertake the 600-hour training programme on top of their own midwifery training speaks volumes.

We must undertake an intense full year of training, assessment and complete several assignments to become a Daisy trained teacher. Always remaining up to date with current research and policy and communicate this to clients in a clear and user-friendly way.

Your journey is our commitment. Throughout your baby’s first year of life we are there.

You can have confidence in a Daisy Foundation antenatal course.

Gas and air, antenatal course Welwyn
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Pain relief – gas and air

In our Daisy Birthing and our Daisy workshops (Active Birth Workshop or our full Daisy Parent course) we spend some time talking about pain relief in labour. Antenatal course Welwyn.

Breathing techniques

Breathing techniques can work wonders when you feel like they are needed. And these can absolutely work for some people as their only form of pain relief. But for others, they form part of the journey and work well alongside medical options.

We know that having techniques to use when you feel like you need them is so helpful. Without having to rely on somebody prescribing, dosing and administering the medication. Medical forms of pain relief, with the exception of Gas and Air also take around 20 minutes to take effect. Antenatal course Welwyn

Breathing and relaxation techniques can bridge that gap from when you decide that you need something extra. And the delay there always will be before working on your body.

In our week three classes we learn our 2nd breath for labour and discussed the different forms of medical pain relief. So I thought I would give a bit of an insight into what we discuss.

Gas & Air

Gas and Air, or Entonox is a popular choice for pain relief in labour. It is generally plumbed into the wall giving the labouring person an unlimited supply. In a home birth settings it is provided in large cylinders which can be replaced and refilled as required.

The gas and air is attached to a large pipe, enabling movement during labour and change position with ease. There is a mouthpiece that is put between your lips and the air taken into your body through inhalation (breathing) through the mouth.

Gas and air can be used on individually, or in conjunction with other pain relieving options. Pain relief such as breathing and relaxation techniques, a birthing pool, TENS, pethidine and even with an epidural for any breakthrough discomfort.

The gas is inhaled through a mouthpiece throughout the duration of a contraction. The aim is it reaching peak effectiveness at the peak of the contraction. It takes about 20 seconds to influence your body, taking the edge off contractions. It doesn’t cross the placenta to baby, so it doesn’t have an side effects for them.

Side effects

Side effects for the birthing person may include – feeling dizzy, nauseous, a change in the sound of your voice, hysteria (laughing), dry mouth and tingly fingers.

All these side effects pass as soon as you stop using the gas and air and breathe fresh air. You will be encouraged to do this in between contractions so plenty of time for fresh air.

It is easy to put the mouthpiece to one side and try something else if you dislike it. Antenatal course Welwyn

Here are my top tips for using gas and air:

1. Breathe in as soon as you start to feel the sensation of a contraction begin. This means that by the time it kicks in (after 20 seconds), you will get the benefit of pain relief at the peak of your contraction.

2. Breathing should be slow, deep and steady – our Centre breath is perfect for this but a slow version of the Escalator breath can be effective too. Timing is essential to enable the gas and air to be effective. So the midwife may talk you through the first couple of contractions until you are confident in using it properly.

3. When you feel that you’ve hit the peak of the contraction and you are starting to relax down the other side, stop using the gas and air. Instead concentrate on relaxing your muscles and focus on long, slow centred breathing. This allows the gas and air to leave your system.

4. Try and keep your jaw, shoulders, arms and hand as relaxed as possible. Tension through your upper body can cause your whole body to tense. This can use adrenaline, and tension in the rest of your body – making contractions seem more difficult!

Get a birth partner to keep reminding you to relax your body, or better still, to hold the gas and air for you!

6. Don’t use it in between contractions otherwise you might find yourself too relaxed – stick with using it for the contractions only.⠀

7. Keep a bottle of water with a straw nearby as you may find your mouth can get very dry. And use your lip balm!

You can use it in pretty much most birthing situations so know that it’s there for you to use – you never know you may not need it!

Have you thought about using it for your birth?

/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Your cervix – is it as important as it is made out to be?

Anyone who has ever watched a film or a television programme depicting birth will likely have heard the term “dilated”. That is, a number in centimetres followed by the word dilated. Even during labour, if you agree to a vaginal examination, you will likely hear that phrase. And it is easy to get distracted by it and focus on the numbers. Antenatal education

Care providers will often tell you that you are not in labour until a magic mark of 4-5cm dilated. If you consent to vaginal examination during labour you will likely hear a number followed by “dilated”.

But is it as important as it is made out to be?

We know that birth happens best when we are relaxed. Perhaps instead of focusing on the numbers, ask them not to share the details – or even don’t consent (the choice is yours! Although a vaginal examination isn’t just to check how dilated you are. But choice is important! Antenatal education

Your cervix does have an important job during your pregnancy and in birth though. Even in our Daisy Parent and Daisy Birthing antenatal classes we dedicate a whole education section to it. There is so much going on with your cervix when preparing for, and in labour. Things like baby’s positioning, strength and intensity of contractions and how relaxed the birthing person is also play a really important role in birth. It would be very hard for the uterus and the cervix to do their jobs without everything falling into place and working together. Antenatal education

Let’s take a look at the cervix

Firstly, it is part of the uterus. It acts a little differently in that it needs to go on a journey before it is ready to dilate, and to birth a baby. But, it really helps to think of the uterus and cervix as part of the same organ. Antenatal education

They need to work together. You could think of it like a champagne bottle and its cork. Without the cork the contents of the bottle is open to the air. Before you can get to the good contents inside, the cork needs to be taken out of the bottle. For birth, the cervix doesn’t so much open, but in fact peels back over baby’s head as they move down and becomes part of the uterus. This allows a bit band of muscle to build at the top of the uterus to help give power to birth baby. Perhaps the champagne and cork analogy isn’t quite correct but it certainly got your attention!?

During pregnancy, your cervix is like thick cartilage (a bit like the end of your nose), closed and plugged with mucus.  It is about two and a half centimetres long, about the distance between the tip of your finger and your second knuckle. It also starts off pointing towards the back wall of your vagina. Antenatal education

How does it change?

As your body starts getting ready for labour and birth, it will release hormones called ‘prostaglandins’.  These will help it begin to soften, ripen, and do its thing!  As this starts, the mucus plug may also start to come away.  Sometimes called a ‘show’, you may notice it in your pants, or when you wipe after going to the toilet.  You may also not notice anything, but it will come away at some point.  Then it begins.  Your cervix has one heck of a journey to go on and it will start before you even realise you are in labour!

The jobs of your cervix preparing for birth

1. Effacement – how long your cervix is

Effacement is measured in percentages. We know that the cervix is roughly 2.5cm long during pregnancy. Imagine from your main knuckle on your index finger. You are about 50% effaced if your cervix only reaches from the tip of the finger to the first knuckle, . This process must start to happen before dilation can even occur. In many women, it occurs at the same time or it overlaps dilation. We often see effacement first, then dilation quickly follows. So while you might “still” be 4cm dilated, you may have gone from 50% effaced to 90% effaced!

2. Ripening – softening

Touch the tip of your nose. That’s about the texture of a closed, uneffaced cervix. Imagine birthing a baby through something that hard? It has to soften, or “ripen” in order to do its other jobs. This primarily starts before labour begins but continues as you progress. So again, you might “still” be 4cm dilated, but your cervix may have softened from feeling hard to feeling like the inside of your cheek!

3. Position

To protect your baby, your cervix points towards your tailbone (posterior) during pregnancy and is often too far up for a person to feel during examination. To open and allow the baby to move through it, your cervix must shift its position until it is pointing directly into your vagina (anterior).

4. Dilation

Dilation cannot happen unless the cervix is doing all of its other jobs already. The process often starts before contractions begin. But they often happen seemingly in tandem. So, someone may be “stuck at 5cm” for a while. But their cervix is effacing, softening, and moving forward and doing all of the other jobs!

As Maria Pokluda says: “Let me let you in on a secret, your cervix is not a crystal ball.  It cannot predict when labour will start. Nor can it predict if you will deliver before, after or even on your due date.  The cervix can do many wonderful things, but let’s not give the cervix more credit than it is due.  A cervix cannot predict the future.” It cannot say how long labour will last.

How do the uterus and cervix work together?

Thinking back to the idea that the cervix and uterus are the same organ. They need to work together in tandem. Often all the focus is on the uterus opening the cervix with contractions. What is happening is that the uterus is moving the baby down, whilst bringing tissue from the cervix up into the uterus. This will create a strong band of muscle at the top of the uterus to expel baby into the world, instead of that hard tissue keeping baby inside.

Birth expert Carla Hartley says: “The purpose of labor is NOT the creation of an opening or a hole… The purpose of labor contractions and retractions is to BUILD the fundus, which will, when it is ready, EJECT the baby, like a piston… the cervix does not dilate out….it dilates UP as a result of the effort to pull muscles up into the uterus to push muscles up to the fundus. The cervical dilation is secondary to that. The cervix is pulled up as a result of the building of the fundus.”

So perhaps, instead of thinking how many centimetres there are left to go, you could think how much power is there in the uterus to bring baby out? How can we give power to these contractions and this uterus? To help the cervix move out of the way!

/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Why creating a postnatal plan is important

Postnatal plan

In my antenatal classes I have been talking for years about the importance of creating a birth and a postnatal plan. Preparing for the period after birth is just as important as preparing for the birth of your baby.

The birth of your baby, whether it is your first or seventh, creates an important shift in normality that takes a while to recover from. When thinking of a postnatal plan, firstly you need time to get to know your little one, to understand them. Then you need time to find your groove as a family unit. Going from just meeting your needs, to meeting baby’s ever-changing needs before anything else can get some getting used to. Or if you have more than one, it is the difficult juggle of who needs taking care of first?!

There is also a mental shift. From hormones changing, processing what happened during birth, dealing with sleep deprivation, getting feeding off to the best start…the pressures can be big. A postnatal plan can help you think of these things.

Importantly, there is always a period of physical recovery from pregnancy and birth as well. Physical healing to be done. From pregnancy, from birth. Whether you had a water birth or a c-section there will be bleeding, soreness, and wounds. Sometimes those wounds are purely internal. Often there are stitches, muscles cut and physical weakness to contend with.

To think in advance about the potential practicalities and difficulties of those early weeks can really make the early days much easier.

When planning ahead to the postnatal period and making a postnatal plan, I always suggest a wonderful acronym created by Catherine Holland and adapted by Sophie Messenger.

Use the term R.E.C.O.V.E.R when thinking about how you are going to tackle the early postnatal days.

The real postnatal. Meet others going through the same thing in Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City.
Rest

This can be hard to come by even when all baby seems to do is sleep! Your body and brain need as much rest as possible to recover from pregnancy, birth, and the pressures of keeping a tiny human alive! Give yourself at least 6 weeks grace to rest as and when you can, as much as possible. Perhaps spend the first week in bed, the second not far from the sofa and gradually upping your activity levels as and when you feel ready. Don’t feel guilty about naps and getting early nights! Keep afternoons from around 2.30-4pm free for napping, which is when most of us are at our sleepiest.

Eat

Nutritious, wholesome food should be your go-to during the postnatal period. (Although there should also be an abundance of cake if that is your thing! Anything goes). Protein to aid muscle recovery, fibre, and lots of water to make going to the toilet as easy as possible and plenty of carbs for energy. Preparing meals in pregnancy or adopting a “bring a dish” policy for any visitors can help. It is likely that you won’t want to be thinking of, preparing and spending lots of time cooking breakfasts, lunches and dinners for a while. Stock up on plenty of easy to prepare fresh food. Stack your freezer full of meals – my top tip is freeze individual portions because it is likely that only one person will be able to eat at a time while the other holds baby.

Chores

It is likely that the nesting instinct will have kicked in towards the end of pregnancy and your home will be cleaned from top to bottom. But think about who will do the day-to-day chores after baby is born. Can you afford a cleaner, even if just for a few weeks? Perhaps a family member can do your washing for a little while? Can you put up with things being less than perfect? Asking your visitors to throw a load of washing in the machine or take a full bin out when they arrive will be something most people are more than happy to do!

Optional

What works best for you? There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the postnatal period.  Some new parents prefer to stay at home and have visitors, some prefer to go out and see people for example. Being flexible with plans and how you are feeling is also wise. Cancelling plans at the last minute because of a bad night is ok! Do not feel guilty about taking care of your needs. Everyone else can wait.

Visitors

Take time to consider how do you want visiting to work/not at all? Some new parents prefer to space out visitors over several weeks, with only one or two visiting slots a day. Others prefer to get it all over and done with, having groups of visitors together. Some new parents close themselves away for a few weeks to allow for some bonding time. Others prefer a constant stream of company. There is no right or wrong way. Warn visitors that they will need to bring some food or do a chore before seeing the baby. Consider asking those visitors who would normally sit themselves down and expect to be nourished and entertained to wait until you have found your feet. You do not owe anybody an audience with your baby!

Emotions

Take it easy, this is a big change, and the first few weeks are usually very chaotic with visits and appointments as well as hormonal changes, sleep deprivation and getting to grips with everything. New parents need solid emotional support. Think “mothering the mother”. Surround yourself with people who will appreciate and honour a new parent’s needs so that you are more easily able to honour baby’s needs. If family and friends are more likely to give unsolicited “advice”, fuelling feeling of inadequacy, then consider professional support. A postnatal doula is there to care for you, allowing you to care for baby.

Receive

Support. You will be inundated with people wanting to give gifts and while baby grows are incredibly cute, there are only so many you need (and often gifted baby clothes are entirely unpractical!). How about asking for gifts that look after you as a new parent? Ask for a donation towards a postnatal doula package instead of a gift. Ask for gift cards for your chosen supermarket so you can spend your money on baby items you have chosen for yourself. Request a cleaner for a week rather than another bunch of flowers that you need to keep alive! Make a list of all the possible people that could come to support and help you get some rest after the birth. Explain ahead of time what you will be trying to achieve and ask for specific help from people.

It is also useful to consider:
  • How long will your partner (if you live with one) be off work?
  • How can you ease yourself in to life once partners are back at work?
  • Would you like to hire a postnatal doula to help support you?
  • Do you have numbers of professional support like feeding, emotional, and your Health Visitor?
  • Seeing a physio/osteopath trained in the postnatal period can help your physical recovery
  • Will your postnatal plan need to be adjusted if you face a long induction or a hospital stay after birth?

If parenting as a partnership, it is important to stick together and learn to adjust as a partnership. Just like anything in life, things may not go according to plan. Be open and flexible to change. But be understanding each other’s non-negotiables. By thinking ahead during pregnancy you will be going into parenthood with planned support and ideas.

A final point that I like to include in our antenatal classes is that it is very easy to go into survival mode and keep just running through the motions of day-to-day life. Remember that you were a couple, and individual people before baby arrived. Make a promise to yourselves that each day you will make time for a moment of connection. Ending the day on a cuddle. Or reminding partners that they are doing great. An encouraging note by the nappy changing station at 3am.

For more information about our antenatal and baby classes see here.

I also offer Postnatal Doula services, to help in the postnatal days with practical and emotional support. See my website.

Infant sleep, yawning, mum group welwyn, infant education
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Infant sleep

This is hottest topic at our parent group in Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City. Besides their bowel habits…! Mum group Welwyn

It can often be a source of concern for new parents. We need to remember that small babies wake when they are hungry and sleep when they are full. It is also important to remember that sleep is a developmental process. All babies will develop at their own rate, in their own way, in their own time.

Please do not stress if (when) your baby is doing something completely different to another. They are all individual with different sleep and feeding needs. Mum group Welwyn

Biology

Human babies are biologically evolved to sleep near to their mother’s body during the first months and years of life. In the past, we could not have survived without doing so. So therefore, it is biologically normal, at least in the first few weeks of life for baby to only be happy settling on, or near to a parent. If we think about the fourth trimester and the huge brain development that is going on for baby during this time you can imagine that it would be quite unsettling for a little one. The world is so different from the womb. They need parental support. They need it 24 hours a day.

When researching into infant sleep, circadian rhythms will always come up as important. They are physical, mental, and behavioural rhythms or changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. These natural processes respond primarily to light and dark, but also to hormonal regulation. This is sometimes called your body clock. There are several things you can do to encourage this circadian rhythm to emerge and remain in sync. The natural circadian rhythm does not start to emerge until around two months of age. Establishing good sleep hygiene from the start can make your life easier in the long run.

  1. Exposure to daylight – particular in the morning.
  2. Naps in the light – this works alongside the hormonal aspect of sleep and can be important in setting sleep rhythms. Past 3 months of age it gets more complex with distractions…!
  3. Predictable wake time in the morning
  4. Normal noise and activity levels during day sleeps
  5. Keeping environment darker and quieter at night
Newborn sleep needs

Newborn babies may sleep up to 18hrs a day at first but only in 1.5-3hr blocks initially. This is just an average though, there are some babies with high sleep needs and others with less sleep requirements. Also, their tummies are tiny and will need filling often, hence they wake, or ask for food often. Mum group Welwyn

When they are small, the general rule to live by is if they are stirring, give them a feed. They will either go back to sleep afterwards or wake for some play time. As they grow, their sleep pressure (that builds the longer they have been awake, essentially forcing sleep) takes a little longer to build. They can tolerate more awake time.

Two months plus

As baby grows, from around 2 months their circadian rhythm starts to emerge, and their sleep will slowly start to consolidate into a longer block at night. This likely creates more periods of awake time during the day. But it is common for babies to wake regularly in the night until age 1, and even completely normal way beyond that too.

When thinking of implementing some sort of routine for your baby (and by routine, I mean a regular pattern of daily activities, not a strict feed, play, sleep pattern), before the two-month mark often everything is a little too unpredictable.

When the evening cluster feeding has settled, you can sense when baby is getting a regular bedtime. At this point bringing a pattern of activities or events as you wind them down for bed creates that sense of familiarity.

It might be that baby is not ready for a stretch of sleep until 10 or 11pm. That is perfect if that works for you. Often you can then get a stretch of sleep at the same time, when if they go to bed at 7pm their longer stretch of sleep happens when you are awake!

Wake Maintenance Zone

You may notice that your baby is more active, playful or even hyper in time that you’d be thinking of starting the bedtime routine. This behaviour is often mistaken for ‘overtiredness’. But it is a natural time of alertness and it will be very difficult to fall asleep during this time. This is called the ‘wake maintenance zone’ (WMZ). You are better off waiting for this wakeful time to pass and then try to put your little one down.

Eventually that familiar routine of nightly activities e.g. bath, massage, pyjamas, story, milk, sleep can be brought earlier if their initial natural sleep time doesn’t work so well for you. Around 3-4 months, as their day time sleep starts to lessen their natural bedtime starts to get earlier. When thinking about a time that would work for you, start with their natural bedtime, and also work with what time is acceptable for you to get up in the morning and work backwards! A regular wake time is much more beneficial for predictability than a regular bedtime.

Sleeping through

In our Daisy Baby classes, we often talk about when babies might be “sleeping through” the night. We emphasise the importance of having those realistic expectations in our mind. It can help us through the difficult times to know that baby is acting completely normally!

By the time babies are 3 months old some (but by no means all) begin to start sleeping through and potentially missing a night-time feed. This results in sleeping a stretch of up to 5 hours at a time. By the time they are 5 months old half of babies may have started to sleep for an eight-hour stretch on some nights. Notice the word “some” – there are so many reasons why baby might wake and need help or reassurance. It could be they are too cold, hot, uncomfortable; their dummy fell out and they cannot find it, a breeze, an itchy foot… The list is endless as to the reasons they might wake, and as the trusted adult they often need your help.

There are two types of sleepers.


Generally, babies do not sleep all night-every night, regularly, until they are close to a year old. One study investigating infant sleep duration found that 27% of babies had not regularly slept from 10pm to 6am by the age of 1 year. That is almost 1/3 of small humans waking frequently by age one. That is incredibly common! We also know that around 13% of babies had not regularly slept through for 5 hours or more by the age of 1 year. That is around one in seven babies; considering that our baby classes hold around 9 babies that is at least one in every class

The key thing to understand is that baby’s sleep cycles are approximately half the length of an adults, at around 45-50 min. So, if something is bothering them when they enter their light stage of sleep (hunger, cold, hot, uncomfortable etc.) then they are more easily disturbed – and that means they could potentially be disturbed more than an adult might be.

It is also worth understanding whether your baby is a ‘self-soother’ or a ‘signaller’ i.e. do they wake in the night and largely get back to sleep with little adult input. Or do they require adult help and support settling back to sleep after every wake? Knowing which temperament your baby has can help your understanding of them and can make dealing with night-time parenting a little easier. Mum group Welwyn

Sarah Ockwell-Smith has some wonderful information on this topic. Her book “The Gentle Sleep Book is good, and here are two really good articles that she has written.

Why Your Baby Will NEVER ‘Sleep Through the Night’!
An Important Letter to All Parents-To-Be

And Lyndsey Hookway also takes a brilliant approach and is passionate about gentle sleep solutions and responsive parenting.

The real postnatal. Meet others going through the same thing in Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City.
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

10 postnatal tips for feeling like a person again

Having a baby is a monumental experience. Pregnancy changes your body beyond belief, and it takes time to feel like yourself again. You devote so much time to your little one, it is easy to feel like you don’t know who you are anymore. Take some time for you. A fed, caffeinated (sometimes!), socialised parent is a good parent. Postnatal group Welwyn

A postnatal doula can be amazing in the early days to help you take time to recover and ease into your new role. I offer Postnatal Doula services around Welwyn (20 mile radius). Click here to find out more.

Here are some postnatal tips on how to help you adjust and recover after having a baby. If you are pregnant then make sure to save this email/list somewhere so you can refer back to it after baby is born!):

1) Mum and baby groups

Going to a place where you can interact with adults can do wonders for your sanity. Some groups will be classes where you do activities with baby and get to chat to parents. Others will be coffee morning style sessions, where you sit and chat. Others might be an organised walk. Find one (or several) that you like the look of and sign yourself up!

Be careful what group you pick though. Some baby classes that say they are a great place to meet others and make friends run lots of classes close together. If a class is 30-45 minutes with another one starting 15 minutes later, there will not be time for talking and making friends. You will be ushered in and out as quickly as possible so that the room can be re-set for the next class.

This is where a Daisy class is special. Our fabulous Postnatal group in Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City.

Each class is 1 hour long and we make sure that everyone gets to talk. Whether that is sharing their week, sharing milestones, highs, lows. We make the class inclusive. Of course, you can talk to the person sitting next to you; but we get you chatting with people on the other side of the room too. Shared experiences and understanding is what helps people to bond. And we set up a WhatsApp group for each class to and encourage meet ups and chatting outside class.

2) Send that first text

Sometimes people do not want to ‘bother’ new parents, but if you’re feeling lonely, why not kick-start a conversation with someone that you haven’t spoken to in a while? Ask for a visit, ask for help with something. Often people are desperate to help but don’t want to intrude. Putting yourself out there isn’t easy but it can be so rewarding.

If you have an antenatal or baby class WhatsApp group then send a group message. The people from your Daisy class will be thanking you for trying to arrange a meet up. Every group of “mum friends” has one person who started the conversation. Maybe your group doesn’t have somebody who that comes naturally to, and everyone is feeling weird and awkward. Take a deep breath and ask. And keep asking. One week everyone might be busy, but the next week everyone will be free.

3) Spend time outside

A change can be better than a rest. Going to the park or even sitting in the garden is better than being cooped up inside – especially if the sun makes a return! It might take you an hour or more to gather everything, change multiple nappies and outfits, set up the buggy or put on the sling, feed…But persevere. I promise, it is worth it. If it isn’t, then taking a deep breath, go back home and try again another day.

4) Take a postnatal safe exercise class.

There are some amazing exercise/dance classes with baby! Just make sure that the instructor is qualified to teach postnatal bodies. Exercising releases endorphins, helping you to feel calmer, happier and more relaxed. Demi from Body Blitz runs buggy fit classes, there’s postnatal yoga or pilates too. Postnatal group Welwyn

5) Put the maternity clothes away.

Treat yourself to some new clothes and enjoy the new you. John Lewis does a fabulous (free) stylist session where you can have someone select a special outfit or can help you find basics. If you have a new shape and don’t know where to start, then I highly recommend it. There is no obligation to purchase either, and the John Lewis café is great for a pre/post session feed.

6) Get fitted for a new bra!

Your breasts have changed, especially before, during and after breastfeeding. Life is too short to wear an uncomfortable bra. Check out Boob or Bust to find out about a revolution in bra measurement.

7) Book some you time

A new haircut, a colour re-fresh, a massage, a manicure…you get the picture! Or even just a facemask and a bubble bath at home. Get someone to watch baby for an hour or two, take some deep breaths and relax. Postnatal group Welwyn

8) Mum and baby cinema showings

Campus West, Odeon and The Broadway cinemas do mum and baby film showings, where the lights stay on, sound is lowered, and the tickets are cheaper. It’s a great way to spend a morning once the sessions resume.

9) Date night

If you feel comfortable enough to bite the bullet and leave your little one with someone that isn’t your partner, why not go out and spend some time together? Your relationship with your partner is important and deserves attention too. If you aren’t ready to leave baby then plan an evening without phones, to watch a film or enjoy a meal together. You could even get a postnatal doula to sit with baby while you enjoy some time without having to keep an ear out for baby.

10) Tell people how you are feeling

If you’re not okay, don’t lie and say that you are. It is perfectly acceptable to feel overwhelmed and lonely. In fact, it is completely normal and SO common. Talking about it means that people can help. Whether it is a friend, a partner, a family member, a class/group leader, a health visitor, a GP. Telling someone how you are feeling can help you lift a weight off your shoulders.

 

Pandas offers some amazing support, with meet ups, social media groups and email/phone support.

/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Making memories – How to keep those precious moment treasured forever

The days are long, but the years are oh so short. How will you keep hold of those precious memories, the small moments, the milestones?

It is so easy to take a million and one photos per day and never get around to doing anything with them. It seems such a shame to keep them in your phone or even backed up on a computer. With baby changing every day it is so easy to forget what they looked like, how small they were.

Photos are for displaying, for seeing!

There are many ways you can keep a record of baby’s first year (and beyond) whilst keeping wall space in your home.

1) Print a picture per month to display – watch how quickly they grow and change. A picture taken on their month birthdays, or just simply your favourite picture of the month. But display them!

2) Lots of photo apps (Snapfish, Freeprints for example) give you 50 free prints a month.  You just pay for postage. Upload and get them delivered each month and you can put them in baby photo albums.

3) Photobooks – Snapfish, Photo Box, Bonus Print etc. all do photobooks. You can add up to 16 photos per page and get a lovely photobook to mark a year in the life of baby. I do this each year for my two. They love looking back through them as they get older to see what they did when they were small.

4) 1 picture a day – there are lots of apps that can make a movie – this is a cute example

5) A newborn, or baby photoshoot – some photographers offer newborn shoots in a studio, others offer them at your home. Some prefer to shoot brand new little ones, others love the magic of when baby is a little more awake and interactive. There are so many wonderful photographers locally, I highly recommend Alannah Hebbert Photography and Fables in Focus for relaxed and less posed photos. Otherwise Newborn Love or Sonya Harrap are amazing for more posed photo.

How about other ways to capture memories?

Instead (let’s be honest, as well as!) photographs, how about a one-second video per day? Added up over year and that’s a lovely 6 minute video.

There are lots of hand casting companies who can create a cast of baby’s hands and/or feet. A forever keepsake to capture just how tiny they were. Locally, Daisy Dream Keepsakes and Ten Teeny Toes offer framed 3D castings.

If you’d like some professional hand/footprints on ceramic items, fired and sealed professionally then Potstop in Knebworth are your go-to, as are Pots of Art at Hatfield House.

There are even DIY kits if you are brave enough to try at home! Alternatively, there are clay kits that create a flat imprint of those tiny hands and feet.

I have used salt dough in the past for my baby foot prints. So easy to make and soft enough to roll out again if the imprint isn’t ideal the first time. You just then pop it in a low oven/microwave until it hardens.

1/2 cup salt

1 cup of flour

1/2 cup of water

Combine salt and flour, slowly add water to form a dough. Adding more water as needed, if you add too much water simply add more flour. Kneed until smooth. Roll out into desired shape and then gently push baby’s hand/foot into the shape to create an imprint. Place in a low oven until hardened and dried. Or alternatively, place in the microwave for 10 second bursts until hardened and dried.

Clothing keepsakes

There are lots of companies who make patchwork blankets or teddies from baby’s first clothes and these can be a wonderful memory, putting to use the treasured tiny clothes so you can always have a reminder of them but not having clothes cluttering the place.

The company I personally used to get blankets made for my two is LoveKeepCreate, who make stunning items and really look after your clothes.

Breastmilk/first lock of hair jewellery

This can be a lovely reminder of your journey, whether you have stopped breastfeeding, reached a feeding milestone or once baby has had their first haircut.

Hand/Footprint jewellery

How about little hands and feet prints on to jewellery and keepsakes? You’ll find an amazing local business Prints and Bows will take a print and create something amazing to wear.

Notebook

Even if the traditional baby memory book remains untouched it can be a wonderful idea to keep a journal of day-to-day life with baby so they can look back on it when they are older. Just a sentence or two a day, and as they grow you can add in funny sayings, mispronunciations, moments that made your laugh, their likes/dislikes etc. Write about how much your child beamed on the swings at the park, or how she kept chasing the pigeons.

You could even set them up an email address and send them emails rather than write it down if you would prefer.

antenatal yoga welwyn, the power of your uterus.
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

The power of the Uterus

Antenatal yoga Welwyn 

Not enough attention is paid to the uterus, both in life and in pregnancy classes. Just like Ina May Gaskin says, we should be bragging about this amazing muscle. Instead, because of the media, television, and films, when we think of childbirth we are programmed to be scared.

 “There is no other organ quite like the uterus. If men had such an organ they would brag about it. So should we.”

Ina May Gaskin, Leading American Midwife

So what is the uterus?

Pre-pregnancy, the uterus is a pear-shaped organ (7.5cm long and 5cm wide) that fits snugly under your pubic bone. In pregnancy, as your baby grows, your uterus grows with them. It changes its shape and size to ensure your baby is perfectly cocooned and protected as they grow. It gradually inflates like a balloon up to your rib cage, pushing other organs aside. And it increases to a capacity up to 500 times more than before!  Then, after birth, the clever organ returns to its original shape and size (that story is a blog post for another time!)

Importantly, the uterus is a muscle.

By weight, the uterus is the strongest muscle in your body! Do you want to know something even more impressive? Other muscles in our bodies work in pairs usually but the uterus is a pair of muscles all built into one! The muscle fibres that do the alternate jobs are interwoven within the uterus itself. Antenatal yoga Welwyn 

The uterus has horizontal and vertical muscle fibres that do the different jobs that a pair of muscles usually do. The outer muscle layer is vertical and runs up and over the uterus. The inner muscle layer is horizontal, and runs like hoops around the baby. Antenatal yoga Welwyn 

Each layer of muscle fibres have different jobs to do. Throughout pregnancy, the inner horizontal layer of muscles holds the cervix closed, keeping your baby safe inside. In labour this inner layer relaxes, while the outer vertical muscles begin to contract upwards. This pulls the horizontal muscle fibres up around baby’s head (e.g. your cervix dilating). It starts to build a thick layer of muscle at the top of your uterus ready to push baby out.

When the cervix is fully dilated, this big band of muscle is ready to push the baby down out of the uterus, and through the cervix and vagina. We call this the second stage of labour.

How your body practices

It is important to remember that your uterus has been preparing for pregnancy and birth since you first got your period. Each month when the inner lining of the uterus breaks down, the uterine muscles contract to allow the tissue to leave your body. Despite it being on a smaller scale, your uterus has had lots of practice of the process.

Also, during pregnancy, the outer layer of muscle practises for the real thing. Your uterus will contract and relax every day. You will not usually feel these practice contractions until later in pregnancy as that uterus is bigger. We call them Braxton Hicks contractions, and they are helpful for birth. They are completely normal and harmless. They do not change the cervix whilst the horizontal layer of muscle is supporting, and there are no hormones at play helping to change the cervix.

How can you help yourself? Education, education, education.

Understanding how your amazing uterus works is the first step to an empowering birth experience. Education is important so that you feel confident in the process. It will allow you to understand exactly what is happening with your body. To do this you should attend antenatal classes that get into the details of the labour process, what happens and what you can do to help yourself. Classes like our Daisy Birthing, Daisy Parent or Active Birth Workshops will give you this in-depth education.

Another important way that you can help the progress of the uterus in labour is to bypass your brain. Let your body do the work it is designed to do without your conscious brain getting involved. Mammals require a private space with a feeling of safety to birth effectively. When faced with a bright, busy environment with unfamiliar people the brain releases adrenaline so that it can stay alert.

When this stress response has been activated during labour, the horizontal layer of muscles in your uterus tenses up to protect baby from a potential threat to their safety if they were born. Even if we know that this isn’t the case, your body doesn’t. This then makes it difficult for the vertical muscles to move upwards with each contraction, because the lower vertical layer of muscles is pulling on them. This might result in a more difficult sensation with each contraction as the muscles are working in opposition to each other rather than in partnership. This is more uncomfortable for you and in some cases, this can even slow down or stall your labour.

So how can you bypass your brain? Relaxation.

By educating yourself you can learn to trust that your body is doing the job that it is designed to do. The next step is to let you brain do what it needs to do.

Naturally, the conscious part of the brain, responsible for your awareness and conscious thoughts starts to switch off as your labour progresses. This allows the subconscious part, which is responsible for birth, your breathing, digestion, blinking (the bits that happen without you thinking about it) to take over.

When you can stay relaxed, to allow the conscious part of the brain to slow down and allow the subconscious segment to take over, your birth will seem much easier. There will be little adrenaline, making you aware of your surroundings, and much more oxytocin and endorphins (our wonderful labour hormones). By staying relaxed you will also allow your muscles to relax as well, letting the uterus do its job with as little restriction as possible.

Relaxation in labour can take a surprising amount of effort! Despite knowing the process and what you can do to help yourself it will likely take a lot of reminders and prompting. The more you can prepare your body during pregnancy to allow yourself to stay calm and relaxed. Attending a class or practicing relaxation techniques during pregnancy can really help you during labour. Our Daisy Birthing classes are perfect for that…

Anything else? Oxygen!

Oxygen is one of our favourites at The Daisy Foundation. Not only does conscious breathing help your muscles to relax, and your conscious brain quieten; it also fuels your muscles so that they can work.

We know that when a muscle that is deprived of oxygen it works less efficiently and creates lactic acid. We also know that lactic acid causes cramp and is extremely uncomfortable! When this happens during a workout, we can stop using that muscle, rest and recover, and pump oxygen in, to breakdown the lactic acid before resuming when we feel better.

During labour, whilst the uterus does go through periods of work and recovery, if lactic acid builds up through lack of oxygen you are unable to make your uterus stop working. So, your uterus will continue contracting, just like you cannot use willpower to stop your digestive system from working. And contracting whilst lactic acid is present will be more uncomfortable, producing adrenaline in your body, and undoing or stalling your hard work! Antenatal yoga Welwyn 

Your uterus is an amazing organ that does not need to be taught or told what to do. When you are feeling fear or stress, that power is incredibly intense and can be overwhelming.

But remember, it is your body creating that power, and you can decide to fight it or use that power and go with it.

Our Daisy Birthing classes provide such an important place to practice techniques that can actively help you in labour. Taking time to prepare, to learn, to understand and to practice can really make your birthing journey more manageable. Less film and television drama, more quiet and unassuming.

Family enjoying fresh air in Welwyn Garden City. Best parks and woods in Welwyn Garden City
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

The Importance of fresh air – and where to get it in Welwyn Garden City

Best parks and walks in Welwyn Garden City and surrounding area

With the warmer weather making an appearance it is a wonderful time to get outside and blow the cobwebs away. I have put together below a list of some of the best places to enjoy parks, woodland, or nature in general around Welwyn Garden City, the surrounding villages and even into St Albans.

It can be so easy to stay indoors, especially with a new baby; and we have spent so much of the past year stuck inside it can be easy to fall into habits. But grabbing even 5 minutes of fresh air has so many benefits to your physical and mental health. So, grab your coats/sling/buggy/baby bag/the kitchen sink (!) and head outside.

Fresh air benefits for you?
  • Fresh air makes you happier. More fresh air, the more oxygen you will breathe. Then this will increase the amount of serotonin (a happy hormone) you release by your brain, therefore making you happier. Moving around also increases endorphin levels, reducing adrenaline and again making you happier and calmer. (if anyone who has done Daisy Birthing with me will know all about endorphins and adrenaline!)
  • Fresh air strengthens your immune system. We know that people who get fresh air often have stronger immune systems in general. This means less illness overall, as your body has an easier time fighting off germs before they invade and take over.
  • Fresh air cleans your lungs. Exposure to more oxygen causes the blood vessels in your lungs to dilate (get larger – again we know all about this from Daisy Birthing in relation to your cervix!). This then improves cleansing and tissue repair within the lungs, and helps them exchange gases more easily.
  • Fresh air gives you more energy and a sharper mind. Again by pumping more oxygen into your body you are allowing your whole system to work more efficiently. It really is a wonderful tool!
  • Fresh air is good for your digestive system. You’ll benefit from an increase to the flow of oxygen helping you digest food more effectively
  • Fresh air helps improve blood pressure and heart rate. Getting your body moving, releasing stress and generally helping with a feeling of wellbeing.

In addition, venturing outside will also help you produce vitamin D from the sun (when it does come out), which is essential for many bodily functions including supporting our immune system, strengthening our bones, teeth and much more. That powerful vitamin can also help you fight depression as well so get outside and enjoy yourself.

What about the benefits for baby?
  • Fresh air can jumpstart language skills. The sights, the smells, the sensation of the breeze on their face. All this sensory input, as well as having an adult narrate the experience for them really can boost their language skills.
  • Fresh air improves physical development. If you are able to let baby out of the carrier or buggy for some time outside it can really help boost their development. If they are moving around they will experiences uneven ground, different textures under foot (or knee/hand). Even having to readjust themselves against the wind is beneficial for their muscles. Not to mention bending down or reaching up to explore every last stick, blade of grass or leaf on a bush! Add in some playground fun and you’ve got yourself an amazing sensory and physical experience.
  • Fresh air lays foundations for learning. All the sights, sounds and textures in nature are irresistible to a young adventurer. Little ones are natural scientists, experimenting with their surrounds and working out how they relate to the world. It is never too early to expose little ones to learning opportunities out in nature.
  • Fresh air helps create healthy sleep patterns. Exposure to natural light, particularly morning light can help little ones set their circadian rhythm. That is their natural body clock and can help boost sleep patterns. Fresh air also sends more oxygen into the body, allowing little brains to work hard to process the rich sensory experiences, and therefore can aid better sleep.
  • Fresh air can help ward off illness. Just like in adults we know that fresh air boosts the immune system.
  • Fresh air is good for mum and dad and promotes bonding time with your baby. Naturally when you are pushing a pram or walking with your little one in a carrier, or holding their hand, your focus is on them. Use that time to narrate what you see, smell, and feel. Show them everything you are noticing.

The key is to take a few precautions for young outdoor adventurers, including staying out of direct sunlight and dressing in appropriate layers. You can read more about this in my blog post about baby wearing in different weathers.

Best parks/outdoor spaces around Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City

Getting out to a park or the woods is a lovely trip out. Whether you are taking exercise in pregnancy, walking to try and get labour going. Perhaps it is baby’s first trip out, or the first trip on the swings. There will come a time when a park is the go-to easy option for an activity to kill a couple of hours. So with that in mind here are my favourite around Welwyn.

  • Welwyn Village – a great older play park at Ottway Walk car park and a younger park further up the hill near the Whitehill Centre
  • Haldens Park
  • Stanbrough Lakes – lovely walk around the lakes, plus a play park and splash park too
  • Moneyhole Playing Fields – there is also access to woodland here too
  • The Lagoon – lovely little lake just of Mundells roundabout
  • Digswell park – take a walk under the viaduct and along the lovely footpath, enjoy the swings. Plus there is also a nature reserve where you can see some ducks and other wildlife.
  • Sherrardswood – a lovely woodland walk. There’s a great little stream to paddle in near The Red Lion pub entrance. Or lots of trails, mud, places to hide and sticks to find.
  • Digswell waterfall Just down the road from Digswell park is a lovely little waterfall and is great for a little paddle if the water isn’t running too high. Part of the Centenary walk.
  • Brockett Hall waterfall Again you can see these as part of the Centenary walk. This waterfall is simply stunning.
  • Fairlands Park, Stevenage – a great one in the summer with a play area, splash park and a big lake to walk round.
  • Verulamium Park, St Albans – another great splash park but also a lovely lake to walk around.
  • Knebworth House – can be costly but is a wonderful day out with little ones with a big play park, a dinosaur trail and lovely gardens.
  • Hatfield House – lovely grounds to walk around.
six couples at a Daisy Parent antenatal course. A bit like an NCT course but from Daisy.
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Five ways a Daisy antenatal class is not like an NCT class

Congratulations!

You are pregnant and looking for an antenatal class or NCT course in Welwyn. There are a host of options you could choose from. From parents recommending NCT, to others saying there is no need to do antenatal classes at all. What do you do?! NCT course Welwyn.

Firstly, antenatal education is so important. I have written a blog about this that you can check out here. Or just trust me that the birth of your baby will have an impact on you for a long, long time and you deserve to be as prepared as you can be. NCT course Welwyn.

Secondly, let us look at the big player, the NCT. It is the company that everyone has heard about. Because it has been around the longest is the one that most grandparents to be will recommend. But is it any better than alternative providers? NCT course Welwyn.

What is an NCT course?

NCT stands for National Childbirth Trust, they are a charity and they run private antenatal courses across the UK. Often when parents to be attend private (i.e. not NHS) antenatal classes they are combined together under the heading NCT classes. But they could have attended any numbers of private antenatal courses. Daisy Foundation classes and workshops are one such private antenatal option. NCT course Welwyn.

Speaking to most clients who attended NCT, they will say that they booked because people suggested attending an NCT course to make friends in the local area. They did not look for alternative providers because they did not know that NCT is a company, not a genre.

Once clients have attended one of our pregnancy or postnatal baby classes they will say that they wished they had researched more. They wish they had discovered Daisy during pregnancy. We provide a friendly environment to make friends, but the class itself is of top quality. Delivering important education to you at a time when you need it.

What is Daisy?

A Daisy Foundation class, course or workshop is one of those private antenatal providers. There are three different options for antenatal education.

Daisy Birthing is a weekly mum-to-be or birthing person only movement-based class designed to be done throughout pregnancy. We combine elements of pregnancy yoga, hypnobirthing and antenatal education to provide a unique class. Classes focus on how the process of labour works and how you can help move things along, and cope really well at the same time.

Daisy Parent is designed to be done in conjunction with Daisy Birthing but can be done alone as well. This is a 15hr workshop for mum-to-be or birthing person plus birth partner/s and is a comprehensive way to prepare for labour, birth, the postnatal period and the first few months with baby.

Or we have Daisy Active Birth Workshops. Can be done in conjunction with Daisy Birthing but can be done alone as well. This is a 4hr workshop for mum-to-be or birthing person plus birth partner/s and is an effective way to prepare for labour.

Four ways a Daisy class might be the same as an NCT class
1 – Both Daisy and NCT run antenatal classes. 

That is classes for pregnant people and their birth partners. The NCT’s flagship offering are their antenatal courses that typically run over 15-18 hours (that time includes lunches and a 2hr postnatal reunion). Daisy’s flagship offering is our 9-hour movement-based Daisy Birthing class, but our Daisy Parent course is most like the NCT course. Daisy Parent runs over 14-15 hours, but every single moment of that is education. While there is more than likely a postnatal reunion and time for breaks within the course, these will come as additional time added free of charge.

2 – All teachers have been trained to the highest standards.

 At Daisy we go through a year-long, 500-hour training pathway to enable us to deliver our classes and workshops. With assessments and checks of our teaching standards along the way. We have monthly CPD (continuous professional development) topics, so we are always keeping to date with current guidelines. We are also generally birth and baby geeks, so we’ll be enrolled in all sorts of courses and workshops ourselves to develop our knowledge even further to bring your more information.

3 – To quote the NCT website, we’re innovators, not imitators.

Our Daisy pregnancy and baby programmes have been designed using expertise from clinical hypnotherapists, midwives, health visitors and teachers. Our owner, Mama D (Sian Gilmartin) even won maternity innovator of the year in 2018 – nobody can say we are imitators!
We know our classes and workshops deliver the best education, at the right time. We have delivered to thousands of parents over the years.

4 – Both run “small” groups.

While the NCT limits to 9 couples, we at Daisy generally limit to 6 couples for our Daisy Parent classes and 12 pregnant women and people for our Daisy Birthing classes. From our experience, limiting to 12 people per class (12 individuals or 6 couples) means a truly individual experience. All questions can be answered and there is time for everybody to explore their own views on every subject. Smaller groups do not mean less friendships either, in fact it means the opposite. Because we extend our classes well beyond pregnancy, those who have joined us in pregnancy will be joined by others who have found a Daisy class after their babies have been born. And so naturally your community extends.

Five ways Daisy and NCT are different
1 – All admin contact, classes, workshops, meet ups and support is given directly by the Daisy teacher.

You can book online directly, we do not hide our prices. But we’re available to chat before booking if you’d like to. We do not have separate meet ups hosted by volunteers either. We give our time and energy to supporting our community 100%, and that means hosting free meet up ourselves too. You will be greeted and looked after by me in every class or meet-up you attend. That is amazing if I am your type of person, perhaps not if I rub you up the wrong way! (I try my best to not do that!)

2 – We are self-employed licensees of The Daisy Foundation.

That means we pay to have our own areas and serve the people of that community. It also means we are small players, with little to no marketing budget. We work so hard to get word of mouth recommendations. It also means that we are not necessarily a household name where parents and even grandparents know the name. It does not mean we are not delivering a first-class experience. But it does mean that we rely on every single person that has ever attended a class or a workshop. We need you to sing it loud and proud that they have come to a Daisy class.

3 – Our group education is standardised, our individual support is not

Because we are part of a licenced model, we are trained in not only general perinatal (antenatal and postnatal) education, but we’re also trained to deliver the same high-quality classes and workshops. This means that your education will be the same as someone on the other side of the country. You will get evidence based and truly unbiased education so you can make your own parental choices. You will not get education that your specific teacher deems relevant (although you will get added extras because we like to give everyone as much education as possible!).

Plus, we know that there are vital topics that need to be covered that you might not have any idea about. We do not leave the course planning up to you to choose the content. Any questions are always welcomed, they will either be answered in class or individually depending on the support you need.

4 – We offer a range of pregnancy classes.

From our movement-based Daisy Birthing pregnancy yoga and hypnobirthing inspired weekly classes, our 4-hour active birth workshop to our fully comprehensive Daisy Parent course. There is something for everyone as they prepare for birth, no matter what number child it is. Everything is available by every teacher as well, so your teacher will get to know you, and you will get to feel comfortable with them.

5 – We’re not just for late pregnancy and preparing for baby. Postnatally we are here too.

You can start our classes from 14 weeks pregnant and continue until your baby is 18 months old. Our Daisy Baby classes are perhaps even more sociable than the pregnancy classes, because those connections are even more important when you have a new baby.

Head to my booking page for Welwyn Garden City and surround areas (Potters Bar, Cuffley, to Wheathampstead, Sandridge and Knebworth).

If you are looking for your nearest teacher then click here.

Daisy Baby Tinies baby classes in Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City. Baby sleeping on a mat after a relaxing massage at our postnatal classes.
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Choosing a baby class – Baby classes Welwyn Garden City

 Why might a Daisy baby class be just what you are looking for. Baby classes Welwyn Garden

Congratulations, you’ve had a baby! The nights are long, the days are even longer. Once you are past the complete overwhelm that being a new parent can so often bring, the pressure starts to mount to attend a baby class. How do you know which class is going to be the best fit when there are so many to choose from? Baby classes Welwyn Garden

See our range of baby classes from birth to 18 months by clicking anywhere on this line.

There are a lot of different baby classes in Welwyn and Welwyn Garden City. It is likely that whatever one you attend (or more, the more the merrier in my opinion! Honestly, sign up to them all and go to all the drop-in groups!) will be similar others. You will find signing classes, baby massage, sensory, music, swimming and even messy play. Classes that concentrate on one thing, and others that include a whole variety of elements rolled into one. There are classes that use expensive props to help baby’s development, and there are ones that teach you a skill e.g. swimming or signing.

Finding the one for you can be tricky amongst the noise of advertisements.

Here is some advice…

Firstly, in the early days with a new baby YOU are the most important thing. Any class advertising that you need to attend their class to boost baby’s intelligence or give them something that you cannot give them instinctively is not what you need as a new parent. Find a class that genuinely supports connection; helping to grow the bond between you and baby but also between you and others going through the same thing! A class that can boost your confidence in parenting your child, not tell you how to do something.

Secondly, really look at what you are signing up for. If a class is 30 minutes long and there are 5 classes on that day it is possible that you will sit down, do a bunch of activities, and get ushered out again. Going to a class and not talking to anybody is the worst.

Thirdly, try and get a good idea of the teacher before you sign up. Do they show themselves on social media so you can get an idea of what to expect? There will be teachers or leaders who you naturally warm to and others who you’d rather avoid. It is hard if you’ve signed up for a full 12 week term and you don’t like who is leading. It can be hard to summon the motivation to go after a hard night.

A Daisy baby class – Daisy Tinies

Our Tinies baby classes are for our smallest members of the community. When they are teeny, often 6 weeks or younger and up to around 4.5 months, all they want is you. We nurture that connection. We nurture all connection.

At the start of every class I go around and ask everyone how they are and how their week has been. This starts off so many conversations and allows questions to be asked, and any milestones to be celebrated. It is SO important for new parents to talk so we dedicate a good portion of the class to this. It is likely that baby is feeding or asleep from the journey for the first little while of the class so we use that time to get to know everyone.

Each baby class is split into six segments, each one is short and flows into the next section. We know that babies need cuddles, feeding, changing, winding and so many other things. The class follows the same format and mostly the same activities each week. One week baby might be unsettled, but the next week they might be able to join in.

You will find that every activity involves you engaging with baby. Cuddling and moving them around, playing tracking games, helping them find your face as you move around. Doing baby massage and yoga soft stretch together, playing movement games and even relaxing together. Nurturing that connection with you.

Carefully constructed classes

Everything that we do has a purpose, to help with baby’s development, to aid bonding, or to relieve some common postnatal discomfort. Our baby massage segment even helps to ease some of baby’s discomfort like wind or tight muscles from birth.

You will get a chance to learn some self-relaxation techniques at the end of every class too. Some gentle guided breathing and gentle movements to help you ease tense muscles. You might not be able to lie down and fall asleep. But to get 5 minutes at the end to quieten your mind as you rest and focus on yourself can recharge you amazingly.

Daisy Tinies is a feel good class.

Daisy Birthing pregnancy yoga Welwyn Garden City
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Pregnancy yoga Welwyn Garden City

Is Daisy Birthing pregnancy yoga? Pregnancy yoga Welwyn Garden

The words pregnancy and yoga go together hand in hand. The gentle movements and techniques taught in a calming yoga class benefit the pregnant body and mind tremendously. Attending a pregnancy yoga class is often extremely high up on any list of “must dos” for pregnancy and is therefore something that people feel the need to attend even if they have never tried yoga before. Pregnancy yoga welwyn garden.

See our range of classes for pregnancy and preparing for birth by clicking anywhere on this line.

When searching for a pregnancy yoga class in Welwyn Garden City you will come across our Daisy Birthing classes. Are Daisy Birthing classes pregnancy yoga? Do they offer the same benefits? What else does Daisy Birthing offer that pregnancy yoga might not?

Benefits of pregnancy yoga – does Daisy Birthing compare?

The short answer is YES! All of the benefits of a pregnancy yoga class, and more, will be found in every Daisy Birthing class. The great thing about Daisy Birthing is that we include so many other elements too, and we do not compromise on quality.

We believe in packing as much benefit into each class as we possibly can. In an extremely busy world, you want to make sure that your choices give you value for time and money – we certainly do that.

Conducting a quick Google search of the benefits of pregnancy yoga you will get a list of benefits such as:

  • Improved sleep.
  • Reduced stress and anxiety.
  • Increase the strength, flexibility, and endurance of muscles for childbirth.
  • Decrease lower back pain
  • Reduction in nausea, headaches
  • Less shortness of breath
  • Reduced hip and pelvic discomfort
  • Easing of pelvic girdle pain,SI joint pain, SPD, sciatica

This list could have been written about Daisy Birthing. All these benefits and more are focused on during every single Daisy Birthing class.

What is the difference?

A pregnancy yoga class uses physical exercises and breathing techniques to help balance your mind and body. These are usually hour-long classes and focus primarily on movement. Pregnancy yoga classes will focus mainly on an active pregnancy and helping support your muscles during that time. There will likely be an element of relaxation at the end and there will possibly be a chance to talk or ask questions at the beginning or end.

Our Daisy Birthing classes will give you 1.5hrs each week to work on a host of techniques for pregnancy AND birth preparation. That is at least 9 hours of pregnancy and labour preparation each term. Each class dedicates around 40 minutes of movement and helping you feel more comfortable in pregnancy. But importantly you will also learn positions and movements to use during labour to help you through contractions and that aid delivery.

You will benefit from our moves because we understand the pregnant body and what it needs. Our focus is on balancing your body; this can make pregnancy more comfortable but also aid in giving birth. The movements are all flowing, so there is no holding uncomfortable poses for any length of time. There are also no uncomfortable twists, turns or balancing on one foot; we are about gentle movements, support and balance.

Daisy Birthing offers so much more than just pregnancy yoga.

Each week in Daisy Birthing we also focus on a topic of antenatal education. We link this with the moments and techniques that you will be getting to know and practicing weekly in class. Our aim is for you to instinctively know what to do, how to move and breathe in labour without having to think about what you are doing. Learning to trust your body comes with understanding the process.

We spend about 20 minutes of each class delving into the topic of the week. You will learn the important role of the uterus, the cervix and how it works, and we go through the different forms of pain relief. We will discuss why gravity is so important for labour, what to do when birthing your baby and we discuss the 3rd stage of labour.

Our classes teach breathing and relaxation techniques that you can use during labour, during pregnancy and in your postnatal recovery too. Thousands of women during birth and hundreds more birth partners in times of stress have used our three breaths. Your muscles will be fuelled correctly as each breathing was carefully designed using hypnobirthing and exercise techniques as the inspiration. They become second nature to you during birth as we practice them each week.

We also spend around 15-20 minutes at the end of each class guiding you through a relaxation. This can send you into a deep relaxation that is often as restorative as a 15-minute nap, but our relaxation scripts also work hard to help release any anxieties around your pregnancy and birth. Our relaxation scripts have been written, and we have been trained by a clinical hypnotherapist so you can be sure of the highest quality.

A class to make friends

Classes are a great opportunity to meet other mums-to-be, while finding some time for yourself away from busy lives. We focus heavily on community and ensure that everybody has a space to chat and ask questions if they wish. Equally there is no pressure to share if you’d rather not.

Because our classes run in 6-week terms, you will see the same people for that complete block of classes. There is no need to start from the beginning each week, every week the groups get more familiar and friendly. Plus our Whatsapp groups provide a great chance to arrange meet ups or ask questions in between classes too.

Interested in Daisy Birthing?

Take a look at our booking page and sign yourself up. You can attend throughout pregnancy from 14 weeks onwards. One term is enough to give you all the tools you need for birth, but each term will allow those techniques to become more ingrained in muscle memory. Daisy Birthing can also be combined with an Active Birth Workshop or our comprehensive Daisy Parent course to really prepare you for birth and caring for baby.

BRAIN tool for birth. Understanding your choices through antenatal education. Daisy Parent, Daisy Birthing and Daisy Active Birth Workshops.
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

The importance of preparing for birth – why antenatal education is so important.

Do I attend an antenatal class or just go with the flow? NCT Welwyn Hatfield

What probably the most used phrase of a pregnant person and/or their birth partner in the run up to birth? That everyone knows that “birth never goes to plan, so I am just going to go with the flow”. Sound familiar? NCT Welwyn Hatfield

See our range of classes for pregnancy and preparing for birth by clicking anywhere on this line.

Now yes, sometimes birth does not go to plan or to the ideal you have in your head. But that does not mean that is not worth working towards trying to achieve that. Antenatal education is not about achieving the perfect birth. The best antenatal education gives you tools to help give you the best possible chance of your perfect birth. But it should also give you tools to deal with unexpected hiccups, or even medical emergencies.

Our Daisy class offerings give you a perfect choice of finding the antenatal education that works for you, your birth partner and your family.  Daisy Birthing weekly movement based antenatal classes, or Daisy Active Birth labour preparation workshops, or Daisy Parent full antenatal, labour, birth, postnatal recovery, baby care and infant feeding course. NCT Welwyn Hatfield

When I say your perfect birth, remember that I used the word “your” in front. Your ideal birth may be an epidural at the first opportunity or working your way through all the different drugs; or it might be a planned c-section or birth with just gas and air. It could be a water birth, a home birth, or a mixture of many of those things. What your perfect birth looks like is so important. Good antenatal education will help you put tools and techniques into place to make your ideal birth achievable.

I don’t care what type of birth you have

To say that as an antenatal teacher that I don’t care what type of birth you want is inaccurate. The best birth is the best one for you. That is what I care about. I am totally on board with everyone’s choices in birth. I care about you making the best decisions you possibly can.

My job is to help you understand that even with an epidural, the biological process of labour doesn’t change, so you need to continue working with your body. To help you understand that it takes 20 minutes for an epidural to take effect and that’s after a 20 minute procedure. That it may take even longer than that to get hold of the anaesthetist. You need tools to see you through that period of time so that you don’t panic and find things really hard. My job is to give you those tools.

Even with a planned c-section there are so many choices you can make. So many techniques you can learn and use to make yourself feel calmer, more relaxed and less anxious and nervous. There are always choices, options and things to consider and antenatal education helps.

Birth, and becoming a parent is such a pivotal moment in your life; you wouldn’t buy a house, sit an exam, get married, or even decorate a room in your house without a little planning and preparation first. But so many go into birth under prepared.

Doctors know best so I will just do as they say…

There is often the argument that Doctors know best so I will just do what they say – but are you an estate agent, a teacher, a wedding planner or a decorator? No. But you plan and often undertake those tasks yourself so why is birth any different? Some research, planning and understanding of the particular project is really important – if only so you know what choices you have so you aren’t caught off guard by an unexpected choice!

Of course, Drs and midwives are highly skilled and experienced, and their advice and opinion is there to be listened to. But it is your body, your baby, your birth experience. Nobody is in your situation and therefore all decisions are your own. You should be presented with the facts, the choices, the alternatives, and a rundown of the outcome if you do nothing. Only then should you be fully informed to make your choice. The speed and the busyness of the maternity world, questions and options are often masked and occasionally do not even seem like questions or options at all.

Support, knowledge and education is SO important.

Antenatal education is there to help you see the decisions, the choices you may need to make during birth. By outlining them and helping you understand and research whilst still pregnant and able to make rational and processed decisions then you will be in a better position during birth to feel confident in any decisions that need to be made. Feeling supported and in control will go such a long way in helping your feelings around your birth. Feeling supported can take a scary situation and make it less scary. In both our Daisy Birthing and Daisy Parent classes we cover different situations and decisions and give you the skills and confidence to ask questions. Only when you are fully informed can you make confident decisions.

You will never forget

You will never forget the day, or the way you felt when your child entered the world. So, it is SO important to prepare for it, to understand the process and to feel as confident as you can be. Birth trauma is a real problem and affects so many people. It can happen because of a traumatic birth, but often even when things go smoothly “on paper” (by that I mean, everything was straightforward and there were no worrying complications) people can still experience very real birth trauma. Not understanding what is happening, feeling out of control and unsupported can trigger birth trauma in a lot of cases. Help avoid this by preparing for your birth fully, understanding what happens, how things might crop up and how they are dealt with.

I can’t promise you a trauma free, straight forward birth. But agenda free, unbiased and evidence based antenatal education certainly can help.

That’s where I come in…Daisy Birthing weekly movement based antenatal classes, or Daisy Active Birth labour preparation workshops, or Daisy Parent full antenatal, labour, birth, postnatal recovery, baby care and infant feeding course.

/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Benefits of a baby massage class – Daisy Tines style

Looking for a baby massage class in Welwyn? Baby massage Welwyn.

See our range of baby classes from birth to 18 months by clicking anywhere on this line.

Often a Daisy Tinies class is described as a baby massage class. Absolutely, a term of classes will deliver all the baby massage benefits that are so widely known about. But probably the most special thing about classes is everything else. Baby massage is what you may sign up for, but the connection with others, the chance to learn a host of movements, techniques, songs, and rhymes to help with bonding and caring for baby, and for helping you to relax is where the value lies.

Do an online search for a first baby class for tiny babies, baby massage is most likely the top answer. Baby massage is a wonderful skill to learn, and a wonderful first baby class to attend with your new baby. You may wonder though, why you need to leave the house when there are so many baby massage tutorials online. You would be forgiven for thinking that at such a young age a baby would not benefit from a baby class at all and it would be totally pointless going.

That is where all the other elements of a Tinies class are so important. The chance to chat to other people, to share the highs and the lows in a safe, supportive environment. The chance to move yourself, to ease out tense muscles from caring for baby whilst recovering from birth. Opportunities to learn different ways to play with baby, learning why certain movements and techniques are so helpful for baby’s development and happiness. Five minutes to relax; no matter what baby is doing we find 5 minutes to concentrate on breathing, relaxing muscles and thinking about yourself. While on paper a baby class is for baby, a Daisy Tinies class is mostly for you! Baby massage Welwyn.

Benefits of baby massage

In those first few weeks you will spend a lot of time getting to know baby, trying to understand every individual squeak, grunt or cry. Introducing baby massage really allows you to slow down, to take some time out to just be with your baby, which can really help you to understand them a bit better. If a baby cries your natural impulse is to hold, cuddle or stroke them. Baby massage is part of this natural impulse.

In our Daisy Tinies baby massage classes we encourage positive welcomed touch. We read and respond to baby’s cues, and only massage when baby is calm and receptive to it. This may mean that for a few weeks of the term that baby is sleeping, feeding, or needing a nappy change during part of the massage section of class. That is totally fine! We repeat our techniques every week and slowly build upon them, but also the class contains so much more value that once baby is ready to go there will be another part of the class that is just as beneficial.

Repetition is key

We repeat the techniques several times throughout the term, so even if you cannot physically participate you can still listen, watch, and absorb the techniques to try yourself at home. If your baby does not seem to enjoy massage right away, do not worry. It is a new experience for you both and it can take a bit of getting used to. Try a few minutes the first time and build up as your child gets more used to it. A Daisy Tinies class is about building confidence.

But also, a gentle rubbing of their feet, hands, face, back etc. promotes the same soothing, calming, bonding experience. So even if baby is not receptive to laying down for a massage, or you are unable to because you are out and about then you can still use touch to provide that emotional support and attachment. Getting hands on baby, providing that skin-on-skin touch does not have to be about removing all clothing and performing a set routine, it can be about a gentle touch and just letting baby know that you are there and loving them.

Lovely Oxytocin

When we massage our babies, we also help release the hormone oxytocin, which regulates the cortisol or stress levels. In other words, baby massage can help relax our little miracle, reducing periods of crying and consequently aid sleep. Our other calming techniques we use in class also work to promote oxytocin and relaxation for everyone. You will hopefully leave each class much more relaxed and connected with not only your baby but the outside world as well.

Studies have shown that routine touch and massage can lead to improved mental, emotional and social development. Skin is the first organ to develop and is the largest organ of the body. Touch is such a powerful sense and can bring about so many benefits. Your baby’s first emotional bonds are built from physical contact, and these serve as the foundation for emotional and intellectual development later in life.

Regularly massaging baby may:

  • Help you and your baby understand each other better
  • Soothe babies and reduce crying
  • Aid digestion and help relieve colic, wind and constipation
  • Help babies to sleep more deeply and for longer
  • Relieve nasal congestion
  • Relieve teething discomfort
  • Help develop good muscle tone
  • Improve co-ordination and suppleness
  • Enhance body awareness
  • Boost the immune system
  • Improve skin texture
  • Help calm and relax both parent and baby
  • Boost parents’ confidence in handling their baby

Tinies offers a wonderfully relaxed, sociable baby class, focusing on celebrating baby, offering support and friendships. Give it a try and you will most likely find you love it so much that you keep booking again and again. The joy is that the class grows as your baby does. They discover new elements of fun in the class, and when they are truly ready to move on, we have our Wrigglers baby classes too. We have got you covered for that first year with baby – and beyond!

You can book a class or add yourself to the waiting list here: Baby Massage class Welwyn – Daisy Baby Tinies – Jilly Clarke (thedaisyfoundation.com)

or email me on jilly-clarke@thedaisyfoundation.com

/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Hypnobirthing in Welwyn Garden City?

Is Daisy Birthing hypnobirthing? Hypnobirthing Welwyn Garden City

The term hypnobirthing is an extremely popular term right now in the birthing world. It is a buzz word when it comes to giving birth, with celebrities choosing to use breathing and relaxation techniques*. Understandably, now more people want a piece of the action when it comes to their birth. Hypnobirthing Welwyn Garden City

When I was pregnant 8 years ago, I remember my sister-in-law giving me lots of leaflets related to birth. I came across a document on hypnobirthing, and I didn’t even read through it as the title put me off. Hypnobirthing?! It sounded very hippy like (not that there is anything wrong with that, I just didn’t think it was for me – but then I discovered Daisy).

See our range of pregnancy classes by clicking anywhere on this line.

Hypnobirthing is relevant

Even in 8 years the birth world has come on so much. The fear surrounding birth is diminishing, people are starting to see that there is no need to fear birth. People are taking control of their thoughts around birth even more and feeling more confidence in trusting their bodies. To understand your body is to appreciate it, to build trust and confidence in your body’s ability to birth. If this step forward is thanks to hypnobirthing, then all hail the person who brought it to the mainstream!

It is worth understanding that hypnobirthing is a process not a method. ‘Hypnobirthing’ has simply become the most recognisable term for the use of certain techniques to help to improve the experience of childbirth. Often pregnancy yoga gives breathing and relaxation techniques that work in the same way for labour too; and yes, absolutely Daisy Birthing absolutely does use similar techniques – but oh so much more.

Given the right circumstances birth just happens without your brain having to get involved at all. Birth is all about hormones and muscles. When you understand the exquisite cocktail of hormones that fuels birth, you are better able to help yourself achieve it.

Tools for every birth

In our Daisy Birthing classes we focus on relaxation and breathing techniques because we know that the less your conscious, thinking brain can activate and get involved in birth, the better. There is no right way to give birth; every baby’s birth is unique. A ‘Daisy’ or ‘hypno’ birth is not necessarily at home, in water, in the dark, surrounded by calming, gentle music. The techniques we teach are for every birth; home, midwife led, consultant led, induction, all the drugs, none of the drugs, c-section or instrumental delivery. However you give birth it will always be so much easier if you can be as relaxed as you can.

Daisy Birthing gives you the tools to be able to make informed choices and the confidence to enact those choices. We commit to giving you the risks, the benefits, the choices, and the tools during pregnancy. Then you can make the best decisions for your body and baby in the moment without having to engage your conscious brain too much. You can trust that you will know the right decision that needs to be made. Ideally no decisions would need to be made in the spur of the moment, but we know that birth is a dynamic process and when things change it is best to be prepared.

Hypnobirthing through movement

We know that not only is hypnosis a wonderful tool for relaxation, but it also helps eliminate fear and anxiety during pregnancy and going into labour. It helps you to trust your body, your baby, and your instinct. We use a mixture of visualisations, affirmations, relaxation, and deep breathing techniques, just like you would find in hypnobirthing. But we combine these in Daisy Birthing with movement. To make these techniques more affective, and help you understand how birth works and how you can work with your body.

Daisy Birthing is a form of antenatal education that will teach, show, and help you feel comfortable with connecting your mind and your body. The impact it can have on your labour and birth experience is huge.

Hypnobirthing through movement is a lovely term to describe our classes in a short, succinct phrase. We teach you the theory, and work through a series of movements connected to our breathing techniques to help your body and mind feel connected. This helps everything come together easier on your birthing day. By practicing the techniques in our classes, you will find that calmness, confidence and control you feel in pregnancy is more easily replicated in the birthing environment.

A Daisy birth

Daisy Birthing is a toolkit of techniques and ideas for labour; the power always comes from the birthing person. Daisy Birthing does not rely on any one method or technique, it gives the control and confidence to the birthing family. Hypnobirthing Welwyn Garden City

The power and beauty of Daisy is that it does not matter how you birth, you can use the techniques, movements and breathing throughout pregnancy, labour and beyond.

 

*Interesting fact, Daisy have had their share of celebs, Natasha Hamilton, Billie Faiers, and even Giovanna Fletcher attended Daisy Birthing.

/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Breathe – for life, for birth

B R E A T H E pregnant in Welwyn  

Breathe In…………And out…………………………..pregnant in Welwyn

Breathe In…………And out…………………………..pregnant in Welwyn

When you think about someone giving birth (imagine all those films and television programmes you have seen in your life) there is almost always someone standing there telling the person to breathe. Have you ever experienced a stressful situation and had a “helpful” person telling you to “breathe”. It isn’t exactly helpful is it? pregnant in Welwyn

But honestly most of the time, no matter what you are trying to do, breathing really does help. There is a technique though. It is not just the normal day to day breathing in and breathing out. We tend to breathe mainly just to our chest and not taking big deep breaths into our tummies, our sides, our backs, really filling up our lungs. That means we may tend to breathe quicker than is ideal, but mainly we’re not getting all the benefits of breathing that we could possibly do.

So Breathe.

As

S L O W L Y

As.

Possible.

If you can, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Keeping your jaw relaxed and exhaling for twice as long as you inhale. We like to try to breathe in for a count of 4 and breathe out for a count of 8. The exhale is the important bit. Especially through a soft relaxed jaw.

The exhale is the bit that takes the tension away, that releases all the stress; and it is the bit that helps to physically relax your body. We hold so much tension in our jaws, it is generally the strongest muscle in our body (besides the uterus!). Notice how when your jaw is tense, your shoulders are tense, your core is tense, your pelvis is tense too. It is all connected. Release the jaw and everything else has a chance to release too.

Take some time out to breathe

Make sure you notice the rhythm, the sensation, the air filling your nose and going through into your lungs. In through the nose and out through the mouth. In for 4 and our for 8. Give it a try for 5 minutes and see how different you feel.

Slow breathing can bring down your heart rate and bring a sense of calm. It will reduce adrenaline, release oxytocin into your body and provide an overall feeling of relaxation. Anyone who has attended a Daisy class or workshop will remember that fuzzy feeling after practicing our Centre breath. The edges of the world blurs, and the happy, calm feelings take over.

Tension isn’t our friend.

For labour, for birth, and for general day to day life. Tension will cause our muscles to contract, to be ready for “fight or flight”. It can heighten our sensation of pain and prevent your body from opening and moving. And childbirth is all about opening and moving! The cervix needs to move and change around baby’s head and we need to *feel* open, trusting and receptive to what’s going on with our bodies in order for labour to progress. To release tension, you need to consciously relax your body.

When you breathe during labour, focus on that slow breathing, that in for 4 and out for 8. It will help you relax and release tension and can reduce pain and alleviate fears. Even better if you are able to practice the technique regularly during pregnancy it can allow your body to feel more familiar with it. Building our muscle memory by regular practice can really make things come easier when we do need them.

That is why we practice our Centre breath throughout the whole Daisy Birthing class, every single week. How about at least 40 minutes of conscious breathing every week? For at least 6 weeks of your pregnancy. Imagine how helpful that would be when it came to labour? Your body could simply do it with little input from your brain. Imagine 12 weeks, or even 18? Not only would you get all the benefits during the class itself, but imagine all that practice for the big day itself?

Even our Daisy Parent full antenatal and postnatal course includes practice of this amazing techniques as we know it is so important.

/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

See what others are saying about Daisy classes

Are you like me, always looking for a good set of reviews before taking the plunge? NCT Welwyn

Reviews are so important to help you decide whether a class or a product will be a good fit. I always do a quick check of reviews before taking the plunge and dealing with a new company. NCT Welwyn

See our range of pregnancy and baby classes from 14 weeks pregnant right up to 18 months by clicking anywhere on this line.

When you attend a Daisy class you are getting just me. I might have a national name behind me but I am the one answering the phone calls and emails, setting up WhatsApp groups and meet ups and teaching every single class.

Below are some examples of reviews you can find over on my Facebook page or on Google. You can visit the page to read them in full, if you wish to, by clicking this link then hitting reviews. The Daisy Foundation High Barnet, Mill Hill, Potters Bar & Welwyn | Facebook 

Or Google “Daisy Welwyn” and select one of the locations.

Daisy Parent and Daisy Birthing

“Just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for all you taught myself and my partner in our classes! I honestly wouldn’t of been able to get through it without the breathing techniques we learnt! And we both felt so in control as we knew all the info and our options!! Thank you again!” – Emily NCT Welwyn

Daisy Birthing, Daisy Tinies and Daisy Wrigglers

“I’ve attended daisy birthing (through two of my pregnancies), daisy tinies and Wrigglers and have loved all Jilly’s classes. Jilly is engaging with the babies and creates a relaxing environment when you are expecting. She is friendly, chatty and full of knowledge, everyone should do her classes!” – Michelle

“I attended Daisy birthing, two terms of Tinies (baby massage) and two terms of Wrigglers (baby yoga) with Jilly with my son and I’m so sad that I can’t continue on to Cruisers as I am returning to work. Jilly is so lovely and friendly and also very professional and runs well-paced classes. Jilly is gifted at creating a warm, welcoming environment so that you get to know the other women and/or babies. Unlike other baby classes, these classes allow you time to share milestones, worries and seek support at the same time as having lots of fun with your baby and a laugh with the other parents. I will definitely be back for the whole run of classes with another baby in the future!” – Nina NCT Welwyn

Daisy Parent and  DaisyTinies

“Daisy Parent was just what we needed to help us prepare to meet our little one, both mentally and physically. Jilly is knowledgeable and friendly and manages to cram so much into the course which she delivers with a sense of humour and element of fun. We’d highly recommend Daisy Parent with Jilly if you’re looking for a supportive and educational course with a few laughs along the way. Daisy Tinies was a great progression, a supportive environment for new mums with lots of tips to take home. It’s a chance to meet other mums and babies and benefit from exercises designed to relax both mum and baby. We would highly recommend this lovely class, baby Leo is a big fan of Jilly so would recommend it too!” – Jessica NCT Welwyn

Jilly Clarke your Daisy teacher for Antenatal classes in Welwyn Garden City. NCT classes Welwyn
/ The Daisy Foundation with Jilly Clarke

Antenatal and baby classes Welwyn and surrounding areas

Hello! Antenatal  classes Welwyn Garden City

Welcome to The Daisy Foundation Welwyn,  Knebworth, Potters Bar and Wheathampstead. Your home of baby, pregnancy and antenatal classes in Welwyn and surrounding areas.

I am Jilly, your local Daisy teacher for Welwyn Hatfield and surrounding areas. I am passionate about supporting your pregnancy and motherhood journey. Having two children of my own aged 8 and 5, I understand the challenges that pregnancy and motherhood can bring.  I have been a Daisy teacher since 2014 and I am also a trained babywearing consultant, postnatal doula and starting solids facilitator. I can bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion to my role and work hard to support everyone. Antenatal classes Welwyn Garden City

Everybody deserves a strong support network, “a village” and I work hard in both antenatal and baby classes to connect people. To help strike up those conversations. Everybody has a different journey, but when we come together to share experiences it really does make everything easier. NCT Welwyn.

Our classes aren’t just about helping you “make friends”. While this forms an important part of our support we are equally passionate about education and empowerment. I help you find the confidence to make the right choices for you and your family. The techniques we provide really do help in all situations; from our breathing and relaxation techniques in Daisy Birthing to our calming and bonding techniques in Daisy Baby classes. Each class or workshop that I run is packed full of education, hints, tips and support. Classes are non-judgemental, everybody is welcome.

Class information

All pregnancy and baby classes are now back in person. All classes are subject to social distancing and we have robust measures in place to ensure that we are covid safe.

I offer the following classes below. Please head to the “My Classes” section below to find out more or book on. NCT class Welwyn.

Please contact me via email on jilly-clarke@thedaisyfoundation.com or on 07709446120

Antenatal classes

Click on the class name to go directly to the class page

Daisy Birthing – A weekly antenatal class for pregnant people from 14 weeks until birth. You’ll learn about and use elements of active birth, pregnancy yoga, hypnobirthing and antenatal education. A special bonding time for you, your bump and baby

Active Birth Workshop – A workshop for expectant parent and birth partner from approx. 28 weeks. Helping you understand the stages of labour, working with gravity to support your baby’s birth,  using techniques such as active birth, hypnobirthing and massage for labour. Learning about potential complications to feel confident for birth.

Daisy Parent – A comprehensive antenatal course for expectant parents. Our entirely comprehensive Daisy Parent format draws on elements of active birth, hypnobirthing, parentcraft and traditional antenatal classes to create one very powerful combination.  From birth plans to massage in labour, informed choice to packing hospital bags and feeding your baby to changing their nappy.

Baby classes

Click on the class name to go directly to the class page

Daisy Baby Tinies – A weekly postnatal class for mum and baby in the ‘fourth trimester’ (from approx. 6 weeks until 5 months at the start of term). I’ll help you learn how to use baby massage and movement to aid calming, soothing and connection with your baby.

Daisy Baby Wrigglers – A weekly class for caregiver and baby (from 5 months until crawling) to help you learn how to use a variety of tools such as: baby massage, baby yoga, rhythm, rhyme, story and (baby) sensory experiences to aid your baby’s development, your connection and have fun together!

Daisy Baby Cruisers – A weekly class for caregiver and baby (from confidently crawling until approx. 18 months) to help you learn how to use a variety of tools such as toddler yoga, rhythm, rhyme, story and (baby) sensory experiences to aid your baby’s development, your connection and learn how to embrace the chaos!